Malambo (Ryan Elliot, light blue) dives through the pack to win a high-quality three-year-old race at Te Rapa.
The Seafood Bazaar 3YO at Te Rapa this afternoon had been billed as a potential match race between Paulownia and Prom Queen, but course specialist Malambo crashed the party in an exciting finish.
Prom Queen’s record coming into the race spoke for itself, with eight wins from 11 starts including four at stakes level. The regally bred Paulownia had scored a win and a close Group Two placing in her only two starts.
The pair dominated the betting for today’s race, with Prom Queen starting as the $2.60 favourite and Paulownia at $2.70.
Malambo was one of the outsiders of the small field at $22.30, but in a desperate finish where 0.7 lengths covered the first six finishers, she came out on top.
Rider Ryan Elliot had the daughter of Duelled in a perfect spot, just behind the leading trio of Merlini, Prom Queen and Caesour’s Dream.
Elliot moved Malambo across heels at the top of the straight and pushed the button. She began to gain ground on the leaders, but was headed by Paulownia’s big strides out wide.
Malambo clawed her way back into it in the last 50 metres and dived at the line, snatching victory by a head.
“She had a nice trail and was able to get out at the top of the straight,” Elliot said. “She’s come up really well this prep – a whole lot stronger than last time.”
Merlini and Paulownia dead-heated for second, with a short-neck to the fourth-placed Sistabeel and another nose to Prom Queen. Caesour’s Dream, in sixth, was another head away. The time was 1:11.78 for 1200 metres.
Malambo has an exceptional record at Te Rapa, with six starts at the track for three wins and a placing. Today’s Dead6 track conditions, described by jockeys as bordering on a Slow7, also suited – the filly has an outstanding record on slow and heavy tracks.
Bred by her co-trainer Graeme Rogerson, who shares ownership with the Wealleans Bloodstock Partnership, Malambo has had 17 starts for four wins, six placings and more than $70,000 in prize-money.
“She races very well here,” Team Rogerson stable representative Gary Barlow said. “It was such a tidy field today, with some lovely three-year-olds in there, but she won well. She’ll go to the Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes next.”
The Gr. 3 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes, over the same course and distance as today’s race, will be run on April 28.